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May 2022

Having Baby in China as Expat

Having Baby in China as Expat 150 150 China Access Team

Giving Birth in China as a Foreigner. Insurance vs Maternity Packages

This article will only cover health insurance plans that cover maternity benefits for giving birth in China as an expat, overview of those hospitals that are fitted to support giving birth as well as how all of it is different if you simply purchase a maternity package from a medical facility. 

Having baby in China as an Expat – First Steps

First of all, it worth mentioning that if you are looking for expat health insurance in China to cover medical expenses associated with giving birth, all of those should be purchased in advance. As of January 2020 there are no insurance plans in China that do not have waiting period, last option was MSH but they have cancelled that plan. Right now all of them will have a minimum waiting period of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months. Everything else not related to maternity is not subject to this waiting period so in case you get cough, cold or need some physiotherapy for instance, those shall be covered during first year regardless of waiting period for maternity benefits.

Waiting periods for maternity insurance plan in China

Pay attention to the wording of the waiting period under your insurance plan, in other words – exact definition. Most of those have general waiting period. Let’s take for example 12 months. That means a person can get pregnant before waiting period is gone but only those expenses that happen after 12 months will be covered. If you have such a plan then ideal scenario is to get pregnant towards the end of the first policy year so first ultrasounds and child delivery itself will be covered during the second year.

Some insurance companies have a “no pregnancy waiting period”, usually those that have a 6 months time restriction. That means that pregnancy should only occur after 6 months of waiting period is gone. Treating doctor will have to confirm on medical records when pregnancy first got diagnosed.

I am pregnant already, what are my options?

While getting health insurance to cover child birth in China is not an option any more, there are 2 options that are workable at this moment.

1 – get a medical insurance to cover medical expenses for anything not related to maternity. In most cases companies like Allianz and Now Health will even cover complications of pregnancy should anything go wrong during child delivery in China. This will also allow you to get your baby covered as soon as he/she is born. Refer to health insurance costs in China article to learn more what to expect when considering this.

2- get a maternity package from an international hospital in China. Whatever maternity package costs are, those are roughly 1:1 to carrying medical expenses out of pocket as you go. More on that below.

Maternity Packages from International Hospitals for Foreigners in China

If you happen to live in Tier 1 or Tier 2 city in China, there are some very good international OBGYN hospitals that explicitly deal with giving birth in China, foreigners can look into those as an option for having baby. Very often those have already pre set maternity packages that you can get once already pregnant. Keep in mind, it won’t cover complications should child for example be born pre mature or required to be put in ICU etc., this is what insurance is for. maternity package in most cases will still cover complication of birth related to mother which is still better than no cover at all. If you need help and discounts on arranging any of that please get in touch so we can help.

What hospital are suited for giving birth in China as an expat?

Jiahui International Hospital in Shanghai has already become one of the most popular international hospitals for foreigners in Shanghai. They do also have their own fertility clinic that offers maternity package that currently being sold for RMB 45,000 traditional delivery and RMB 70,000 for c-section. More on this on Jiahui Hospital Shanghai

American Sino Hospital in Shanghai is another very popular option for expats on giving birth in Shanghai. Compared to Jiahui Health, they have much more options available as the entity hospital is just focused on OBGYN treatments.

Giving Birth in China as Expat

Delivery packages are ranging between RMB 45,000 and 90,000 depending on how comprehensive you want it to be. They even have maternity packages just for pre or post natal only without child delivery, those are somewhere in the range of RMB 5,000 and RMB 20,000. They also partner with several smaller tier clinics such as Worldpath International Shanghai and help them with their clients, in particular with Worldpath you can still undergo pre natal checks at there location in Lujiazui but for giving birth (child delivery itself) they will arrange you to be sent to American Sino’s facility in Xuhui hospital. American Sino Shanghai and Worldpath International Shanghai

United Family Shanghai Hospital offers various maternity packages too. Just pre-natal will run you for RMB 28,000 only. Traditional (vaginal) child delivery will be RMB 59,000 while if you get this together with pre natal then total will be only RMB 82,000 per package. Going further for section+pre natal will be coming towards RMB 111,000 price tag. On top of those they do also sell pre-conception, early pregnancy check up as well as late stage prenatal check up for foreigners giving birth in Shanghai. United Family Shanghai (UFH Shanghai)

Ferguson Health Shanghai (previously known as Read Leaf Hospital) is ready to help expats and foreigners with child delivery regardless how complicated it can be. Dr Ferguson is ready to provide you not only with maternity packages that range somewhere between RMB 40,000 and RMB 120,000 but also teaching classes on various different topics you might be interested about giving birth in China for expats. At some point they even used to provide pre natal yoga classes for you to get familia with body movements and restrictions during pregnancy. Ferguson Health Shanghai

OASIS International Hospital Beijing. Giving birth in Beijing for expats, you definitely will come across this medical facility as it is one of the biggest and well equipped international hospitals in Beijing to assist you with having baby in China. Maternity packages range somewhere between RMB 45,000 and RMB 85,000 while there is whole bunch of other things available too such as pre natal packages on their own as well as pre conception check ups which are one of the most comprehensive in the city, below are details. OASIS Hospital Beijing

AmCare Hospital Beijing will be a slightly cheaper version of OASIS. They do have less maternity packages available but are still able to provide routine delivery and pre natal checks for around RMB 60,000. While for actual giving birth they will send you to a main hospital in Haidian district, regular ultrasounds and check ups can be arranged in any of the other 4 clinics across the city. AmCare Hospital Beijing

Beijing Antai Hospital. Those of us who are looking to have a water birth in Beijing have came across that medical facility on a number of forums. One of the very few places in capital that can arrange it and very reasonably priced for such services, will run you just a bit over RMB 35,000 for a package. Antai Hospital Beijing

Eden Hospital Beijing. Probably one of the biggest hospitals operating in downtown that are privately owned. Compared to regular players like OASIS or United Family they don’t employ as many foreign doctors but are still providing services to hundreds of foreigners in Beijing. Pre natal check ups and giving birth in Beijing with them will cost you around RMB 60,000. Eden Hospital Beijing 

Beijing United Family Hospital (BJU). When it comes to giving birth in China as an expat, United Family been on the market longest amongst other private medical facilities. Very similarly priced as Shanghai. Pre natal and regular giving birth in this hospital will cost you around RMB 83,000. Should you wish to switch to Caesarean section as a way to having a child then costs will be slightly above RMB 110,000 per package. United Family Beijing 

Raffles Medical is a huge chain of medical facilities across the entire Asia. In China they have hospitals and clinic in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Chongqing, Tianjin, Chengdu and Shenzhen. While pre and post natal care will be available in all of them, only hospitals can help you with child delivery in China. Others will refer you to their partner local hospital which is still a good options because they will be the one arranging everything on your behalf. Raffles Medical China

Support from community when having a child in China

If you are particularly new to China and want to get some suggestion or hints from a fellow foreigners in the country regarding particular issues on giving birth in China then following links might be helpful. Major cities like Shanghai and Beijing have a relatively large expat communities where you can benefit from a local knowledge of a fellow expat. Shanghaimamas is one example of a community of local expatriate females sharing hints with each other on how to best handle their kids in the city. ShanghaiFamily is another great resource of getting best knowledge of the local life from expatriates in the city. Beijing-Kids will be a similar online source for getting information about having children in China as a foreigner in case you live in the capital. EasyExpat and ExpatArrivals are rather general forum based websites where expats and foreigners can ask questions to be answered by other expats, those are not limited to a particular city but rather cover China nationwide.

David Shield Health Insurance

David Shield Health Insurance 150 150 China Access Team

David Shield Health Insurance in China

Founded in late 1990s with offices across Europe and Oceania, David Shield provides a unique one stop solution where members don’t have to deal with paying out of pocket or submitting claims for reimbursement. All of this is available with David Card (sometimes referred to as Passportcard) where members shall notify insurance company prior getting outpatient treatment and David Shield will fund the card with the right amount (available only outside of US). It is basically a MasterCard that will be funded with the money for you to pay at the medical facility once the pre authorization is completed.

David Shield has a team of dedicated medical professionals should their clients decide to go for a second medical opinion or in case they simply wish to talk to them first before scheduling appointment at any medical institution.

  • maximum duration for claim reimbursement – 5 days. Once they receive all the supporting documents
  • in case there is any violation of service agreement, David Shield will pay out $25 to its clients once the internal investigation is completed
  • one of the few companies that has toll free Skype hotline

David Shield is by far the most popular insurance solution among the global Jewish community. Plans vary a lot in its benefits but only options available for cover area is either Worldwide or Worldwide excluding US. Davidcard or Passport card is also known as a real time insurance solution which pays out medical expenses without any need for claiming them back.

Cigna Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance 150 150 China Access Team

Cigna Health Insurance in China

In China Cigna promotes plans under 2 different entities: Cigna Global whose plans are out of Europe with servicing from UAE and Cigna CMB. Last one is being a local entity that is in joint venture with China Merchants Bank and that was designed explicitly to service China residents.

Cigna CMB is one of the largest players on health insurance market in China when it comes to large corporate accounts such as international schools and MNCs. Particularly because of years of outstanding services both within and outside of China. Some of the most noticeable remarks of Cigna are:

  • outstanding direct billing both in and outside of the country
  • one of the highest dental limits of the market, there is an add-on that has RMB 30k limit for your dental visits
  • relatively good price increase each year of around 5% during the past 8 years (excluding age band increases)

Cons

  • individual plans are by far less attractive compared to another regular International insurance provider in China
  • price could be more competitive for the benefits they offer in comparison to other major players like Allianz or Aetna

Source: Cigna China Website at http://www.cignacmb.com/ , Cigna Corporate plans overview

Bupa Health Insurance in China

Bupa Health Insurance in China 150 150 China Access Team

Bupa International Health Insurance in China

Same as most other international insurance providers in China, Bupa partnered with one of the local players Alltrust (AIC), most of which servicing is done out of Beijing where the entity is headquartered. While traveling overseas or in case any international assistance is needed members will be contacting Bupa Global team which is available worldwide 24/7. For US they have partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield that helps them servicing clients in States.

If you take average premium ratio over the entire client portfolio in the country, Bupa is #1. Their members pay the most for their health insurance. Bupa is one of the oldest and major insurance powerhouses in the world. Yet they are not as big as Allianz considering sales volumes but have a higher retention & renewal rate on their policies.

Bupa plans can be portable to pretty much any country except US. High price comes with high benefits, take for example Elite plan which is currently the option that gets you highest benefits on maternity. Dental and vaccination limits are also one of the highest on the market.

  • Global experience with local strengths – With a health plan from Alltrust, Bupa Global and Blue Cross Blue Shield Global, you benefit from the combined strength
  • Access to medical providers worldwide – You’ll have access to over 1.2 million medical providers worldwide
  • Convenient claiming process – At many hospitals and clinics we can settle bills directly
  • 24/7 Support – Our experienced advisers are based in China, speak Mandarin and English and are available 24 hours day, 365 days a year.

Overview of Bupa China plans looks as follows:

Source: Bupa China Website

A+ International Insurance

A+ International Insurance 150 150 China Access Team

A Plus / A+ International Health Insurance in China

Currently A Plus International is able to supply private medical insurance to both individual and corporate clients. Headquartered in Hong Kong, since 2008 they have offered medical health plans around the world with a network of over 10000 doctors, hospitals and clinics under their direct billing list in more than 130 countries.

They have one of the longest grace periods for submitting claims, up to 2 years from the day of treatment whereas industry average is more or less around 6 months up to a year.

Although their global plans are in line with the market price for similar benefits form other providers, they do have quite interested tailored solutions covering South East Asia only, available for residents of that region excluding Singapore. Details below:

A Plus Health Insurance in ChinaKey partners they rely on when servicing and underwriting their plans are AXA and MAI (Medical Administrators International), last one being the third party agent responsible for claims and direct billing under the plan. A+ is one of the very few companies that covers Traditional Chinese Medicines in full up to the limits of the plan. Most their plans don’t have limit on outpatient care which is what same clients prefer about them,

Source: A Plus International website aplusii.com

AXA TianPing Health Insurance

AXA TianPing Health Insurance 150 150 China Access Team

AXA TianPing Health Insurance in China

It is the biggest AXA entity in terms of sales volume of health insurance products in China, followed by ICBC AXA and AXA PPP. This is a merger between AXA itself and one of the largest motor vehicle insurance providers in China – Tianping.

Currently AXA TP is one of the largest foreign insurance providers on SME and Property&Casualty plans. AXA Tianping P&C Insurance also provides corporate property insurance, family property insurance, and health insurance.

AXA in China has a very wide range of health insurance options available, starting from Child only plan and all the way to a more luxury solution named Prestige which is one of the best known plans on the market to cover pre existing medical conditions. Below is overview of what their high end medical insurance plans look like for individual and family buyer.

AXA TP Health Insurance

Pros

One of the largest direct billing list in the country

Portable to most EU and Asian countries should you decide to leave China

Child only plan

Cons

Pricing could be more attractive

Dental benefits have a sub-limit of RMB 500-800 for cleaning which is not enough for most private institutions

Source: AXA China website axa.cn and Bloomberg

AXA PPP Health Insurance

AXA PPP Health Insurance 150 150 China Access Team

AXA PPP Health Insurance

Founder: AXA Health
Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Kent, United Kingdom
Parent organization: AXA Health

AXA has a number of subsidiaries dealing with individual and corporate insurance plans. The Axa Group operates primarily in Western Europe, North America, the India Pacific region and the Middle East, with a presence also in Africa. Axa is a conglomerate of independently-run businesses, operated according to the laws and regulations of many countries. In China legal entities that are recognized by local authorities are ICBC AXA and AXA TianPing.

If you have an existing AXA PPP policy all of it’s servicing is done out of UK without hotline in China. AXA Group headquarters is however located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. Group itself is engaged in more operations than just selling private medical insurance. Range of solutions they offer are covering as little as insurance for rented apartment and all the way investment solutions in most of the EU countries.

Source: AXA Health at axahealth.co.uk and AXA Group at axa.com

AIG Health Insurance in China

AIG Health Insurance in China 150 150 China Access Team

AIG Health Insurance in China

American International Group, Inc. (AIG) , founded in 1919, today AIG member companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement products, and other financial services to customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions.

Currently in China they only sell group (corporate) medical plans, meaning individual and families can’t buy them on their own but only as part of an employer benefits scheme.

AIG Insurance Company China Limited (AIG China), a subsidiary of American International Group (AIG), is a licensed insurance company in China, with branches operating in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong Province – Shenzhen, Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces.

AIG Consumer Insurance is a unique franchise that brings together a broad portfolio of accident and health management, travel and property casualty products offered through a wide distribution network.

Source: AIG China website aig.com.cn

AIA Health Insurance

AIA Health Insurance 150 150 China Access Team

AIA Health Insurance in China

AIA is one of the largest independent publicly listed Asian life insurance group, currently present in 18 Asian markets.

AIA China provides a full line of life, accident and medical insurance products to customers through a multi-channel distribution system. Their comprehensive range of employee benefits of group insurance products and services include group life and accident, group medical and voluntary solutions.

While expats can purchase health insurance from, it is not yet available in all the provinces.

China Unique selling points

  • AIA wellness app, chronic disease management, green channel and telemedicine
  • Bilingual WeChat and e-service platform. Self-service anytime and anywhere
  • AIA online e-benefits portal. Includes claim forms, claim history review, network provider search, benefit summary, member guides
  • Dedicated 24/7 service hotline. Convenient access to customer services in both Chinese and English

Source: AIA website aia.com